WASHINGTON — Voters came out in record numbers in about half the states that have voted in presidential primaries so far, according to an analysis Wednesday.
Turnout among Republicans on Super Tuesday toppled a 20-year record in Alabama, according to the report issued by American University's Center for the Study of the American Electorate. More than 16 percent of those eligible voted in the GOP race, compared with about 7 percent in 1988.
The report's findings were based on unofficial results from the primaries held through Tuesday. Caucuses and California primary results were excluded.
Alabama had 58,000 new voters sign up in the three months leading up to Tuesday's race, just one sign of newfound interest in a primary that used to be held in June and had little or no significance.
In Georgia, Democrats came out in droves to support Barack Obama, breaking a more than 30-year-old turnout record. More than 16 percent of eligible voters showed up at the polls Tuesday, compared with less than 15 percent in 1976.
"We are likely to see more records broken until the contests are decided, which in the Democratic Party's case, at least may last until their convention," said Curtis Gans, the center's director who performed the analysis.
About 14 million people voted in the Democratic primaries this year compared with the slightly more than 10 million who voted in GOP primaries, according to the analysis.
Twenty states have held Democratic and Republican primaries so far.
Here are some of the report's findings:
_Democratic primaries in 12 states set records. They are Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina and Utah.
_Republican primaries in 11 states saw their highest percentages of voter turnout ever. They are Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah.
_Combining party turnouts, the highest percentage of eligible voters showing up this year came in New Hampshire _ 52 percent.
_Among the record-setting states, New York primaries had the lowest percentage of people voting with just more than 18 percent of all those eligible casting votes.
On the Net: